A digital textbook rental company created by three young Illinois State alums while they were students will be featured on an upcoming episode of TV’s Shark Tank.
Packback was co-founded by Kasey Gandham ’13, Mike Shannon ’12, and Nick Currier ’13, M.P.A. ’13, all graduates of Illinois State’s College of Business. They hatched their idea on campus and even won an Illinois State entrepreneurship contest in 2011 before attracting the attention of big-time investors and publishers.
Frustrated by the high price of college textbooks that only saw limited use, the ISU trio created Packback as a new method of renting textbooks by the day, instead of by the semester, for $5 or less. Now based in Chicago, they’re working to grow Packback’s library of on-demand e-textbook rentals and add more free tools.
Gandham and Shannon will be featured on ABC’s Shark Tank at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21. Each episode of Shark Tank brings budding entrepreneurs in front of a group of “Sharks” (tough, self-made, multimillionaire tycoons such as Mark Cuban) who decide whether to invest in—or even buy—the young businesses.
Packback will host a viewing party at Chicago’s startup hub 1871 on Friday, March 21, open to the community, followed by founder’s fireside chat after the episode.
And check out Packback’s official announcement about the Shark Tank appearance.
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.